Intended for healthcare professionals


Violence and mental illness: five minutes with . . . Seena Fazel

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 16 August 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5199
  1. Pat Lok,
  2. Stijntje Dijk
  1. The BMJ

The forensic psychiatrist explains common misconceptions about violence and people with mental illnesses

“A major misconception is that mentioning a connection between mental illness and violence will increase stigma. Denying the association between the two doesn’t help anyone—because there is one. Instead, we need to get people treatment we know to be effective.

“Our umbrella review of meta analyses1 from last year highlighted that every single included study showed an increase in violent behaviour for all psychiatric disorders we studied except epilepsy, in comparison with the general population.

“The contribution of mental illness to violent crime is, however, often overstated. …

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